When Britain holds its next general election, which is expected to take place sometime next year, the ruling Conservative Party will have been in power for 14 years.
During that time, it has witnessed five prime ministers, a referendum on Scottish independence and overseen the divisive Brexit vote which remains one of the most toxic issues in British politics of the modern age.
Not surprisingly a degree of fatigue, as well as voter apathy towards the ruling party, has begun to enter Britain’s political landscape, to the extent that, according to the latest opinion polls, the prospect of Rishi Sunak, the latest Conservative prime minister to take up residence in Downing Street, surviving in power come the next general election is viewed as being exceedingly remote.
Since the dramatic removal of Boris Johnson from power last summer, the opposition Labour Party has consistently enjoyed a significant lead in the polls, suggesting that it stands the best chance of forming the next government when the next elections are held.
Whatever his faults, Johnson was a guaranteed vote-winner, and the 80-seat majority he won for the Conservatives in the 2019 election was the biggest majority the Conservatives have enjoyed since Margaret Thatcher was in power in the 1980s.
Johnson’s removal from office has resulted in a collapse in Tory support, to the extent that Labour has recently enjoyed a 20-point lead over their Conservative rivals in the polls.
The growing support for Labour, and Sir Keir Starmer, the party’s recently-appointed leader, was very much in evidence during the recent local elections held in Britain, which resulted in the ruling Conservatives losing 1000 seats and Labour gaining more than 500.
Growing discontent with Tory rule
The outcome of the elections suggests two important trends. The first is the huge scale of discontent among the British public with 14 years of Tory rule, which has left the country facing prolonged periods of stagnant economic growth, and enjoying few of the benefits that were promised following Brexit.
The other conclusion to be reached is that Starmer has every chance of ending his party’s 14-year spell in opposition, with the Labour leader now in a strong position to form the first Labour government since Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were in power.